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Marseille 'preparing £26m bid for Arsenal's William Saliba'

Marseille 'preparing £26m bid for William Saliba'
© Reuters
Marseille are reportedly planning a £25.8m bid to sign Arsenal centre-back William Saliba on a permanent basis.

Marseille are reportedly preparing to submit a bid of €30m (£25.8m) to sign William Saliba from Arsenal on a permanent basis.

The 21-year-old was a standout performer in Jorge Sampaoli's side during his loan spell last season and was named the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year.

Saliba was also named in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year after helping Les Olympiens return to the Champions League with a second-placed finish behind Paris Saint-Germain.

Marseille chiefs publicly stated their desire to keep Saliba on the books permanently, but he remains under contract at Arsenal for another two years and has confirmed that he wants to finally make a name for himself in North London.

"I belong to Arsenal, I still have two years left. I will be back with Arsenal," Saliba told Telefoot. "I have played zero matches and I still want to show them my true face and have the chance to play for these fans and this great club.

Marseille's William Saliba pictured in March 2022© Reuters

"It's as if I stayed for at least two-three years, it's really special. Even if I don't come back to Marseille, I'll never forget. Thanks to OM, I spent a great course in my career, and it was them who boosted me."

However, Marseille are not giving up hope of welcoming Saliba back to the Orange Velodrome, and RMC Sport reports that the Olympiens are formulating an official offer for the France international.

The report claims that Marseille will approach Arsenal with a fee between €25m (£21.5m) and €30m (£25.8m), and Sampaoli's side are still confident about their chances of striking a deal.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is keen to reward Saliba's progress with a new deal, though, and the Spaniard affirmed earlier this year that the centre-back "had to come back" to North London.

"We made the right decision. He has to come back. William wanted to be a regular starter as you know but now we want him back at Arsenal," Arteta told RMC Sport.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on May 16, 2022© Reuters

"He has the experience and the environment necessary to be competitive with us. If he had stayed with us this year, with a match of Premier League a week, with Ben White and Gabriel, he wouldn't have had half the playing time he had with Marseille, that's for sure.

"For his growth and what he can do next season that wouldn't have been good. William wasn't with us because he wouldn't have had the playing time to gain experience. That's it, there's nothing else."

Arsenal forked out £27m to sign Saliba from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2019, but the 21-year-old is yet to make his senior debut for the North London club.

Saliba has only made eight appearances for the club's Under-23 side and has been sent back to France on loan with Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille since signing his five-year deal in the English capital.

Marseille - who have also signed Sead Kolasinac and Matteo Guendouzi from Arsenal in recent years - are also rumoured to be plotting a loan move for Gunners left-back Nuno Tavares.

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Marseille's William Saliba pictured in March 2022
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